Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Whole Foods - A Fantasy Food Land

Whole Foods - a true marvel of modern American society. The birthplace of the organic grocery movement, and the home of the sixty-dollar single grocery bag purchase.

I recently visited the SoHo store, at Houston and Bowery, for maybe the tenth time. But it was the first time that I was able to locate the Whole Foods beer store.

It’s an entire wing dedicated to so many of the finest beers in the world. The selection is dizzying. Hundreds upon hundreds of beers you’ve never heard if, and never tried before.

This is, like, 1% of the overall beer selection at Whole Foods. It's ricockulous.

I was like a kid in a beer store.

Plus, you can get yourself a growler, and fill it up with the fresh draft beer of your choice. They usually have 5 or 6 taps to choose from.

Sweet beer flowing from six sparkling, splendid fountains, amidst a microbrewed garden of luminously labeled brown bottles. Simply amazing.

At first, I thought I was dreaming. Then I assumed I had died and gone to heaven. Finally, when the total came to $38 - for a six-pack and a growler - I knew I was in New York City.

But still, I can’t get enough of this place. And not just for the beer, although that’s definitely a highlight.

The cheese. The prepared foods. The deli. The fruits and vegetables. The seafood. The incredible selection of fresh birds’ eggs - ostrich, quail, duck, pheasant, squirrel, etc.

The floor is cleaner than your face after a spa beauty treatment.

Quite simply, there’s no other place like it. And the advertisements don’t do it justice. They don’t convey the true Whole Foods message.

So here’s my attempt to rectify that advertising shortfall.

- The Mill’s Top 5 Whole Foods Slogans of 2008 -

Whole Foods: “The epitome of conspicuous consumption.”

Whole Foods: “Sticking it in the eye of second and third-world nations.”

“One pound kobe beef filet - $87.95. Ostrich egg and white truffles - $95.50. Breast of California Condor - $175.99. Being able to buy all of this overtly decadent food in one fabulous store – priceless.”

Whole Foods: “If you don’t know the definitions of “free-range,” “organic,” and “line-caught,” don’t even bother.”

Whole Foods: “We got more gourmet cheeses than the Bible’s got psalms.”

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Moving Out - The Final Chapter, Really

I’ve been moving out of my old apartment for 4 months now.

I’d love to say that this was by design, but unfortunately, I don’t have nearly that much foresight. I can hardly plan what I’m going to have for lunch today. Soup sounds good.

I had sublet my old bedroom when I moved to Brooklyn with Jaimi. My roommate at the time – a good friend from back in the hood; a true Philly-smooth ladies’ man, Dr. Dan – would stay behind, guard the fort, and make sure our place wasn’t trashed by the college co-ed subletter.

As it turned out, she was very well behaved. So that’s the end of that story, unfortunately.

The real story is the two-fisted shit storm we were expecting upon final preparation for move-out day. This included removing a heavily constructed “temporary” wall that brought our bedroom count up to two during our time in this apartment.

As we began to plan the demolition, it crossed our minds that it would have been better for Dr. Dan and The Mill to have slept in bunk beds rather than go the arguably illicit route of installing a semi-permanent temporary wall. If that had been the case, it would have been smooth sailing right about now. And it would have been kinda like sleepover camp every night.

Apparently, there are a few companies that will install (at a premium price) an easily removable partition called a “pressure wall” - using no hot glue, plaster, chicken wire, nails, screws, or peanut butter. We were pretty sure that our Craigslist-sourced handymen used at least 4 out of the 6 when they put up our wall.

Thankfully, we had some help tearing the thing down.

A friend from college and his wife (Rich and Liz) are both architects now. And not only do they love erecting buildings, but they also love ripping shit down. They recently bought and renovated an 1880’s-era house full of asbestos and shag carpeting – so they’re still in tear-down mode.

I had imagined taking a sledgehammer to the wall for a few hours and calling it a day. Of course, that was only a dream – as of this writing, I have yet to use a sledgehammer to destroy anything during my lifetime.

But we did get to use a power saw and a crowbar. So that was pretty cool.

And in the end, with the help of two destructive architects, we were able to get the wall out of there in less than 2 hours - with barely a trace. Sure, there was a bit of damage to the apartment walls where the “temporary” wall had been attached with foot-long nails. But nothing a little spackle couldn’t fix. Or a lot of spackle. A whole lot of spackle. After 60 years of tenants repairing various holes before moving out, I bet the entire apartment building is about 75% spackle.

We still needed to repaint the place, which Jaimi and I took care of yesterday – not much of a story there.

And finally, there’s cleanup and removal of a bunch of old shit. Not sure exactly what we’re going to do with all the unwanted – and half-broken – furniture, kitchenware, and electronics.

I wish the police allowed for bonfires in the middle of New York City.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Why Do We Do What We Do When We Drive?

"Gaper Block"


"Gazing Gridlock"

"Bunch of Asshole Drivers Slowing Down to Stare at Someone Who Has a Flat Tire on the Side of the Road"

Whatever you call it, it’s one of the most frustratingly idiotic phenomena of the civilized world.

If you’ve ever been stuck in traffic, then with little doubt, you’ve experienced this frustration. Unless, of course, you’re the first dickhead to slow down and gawk at the slightly damaged fender of a car that was gently sideswiped by a U-Haul.

Why do so many drivers slow down to a crawl with the slightest flicker of police lights up ahead?

Is this an evolutionary thing? Is it natural, pre-programmed, unavoidable behavior?

If so, then I’ve lost a great deal of respect for the human race - and lost an even greater amount of hope for our future.

Sometimes, when I’m in the midst of one of these jams, I feel an overwhelming urge to grab each driver ahead of me and give them a vigorous shake - as if they were Magic 8-balls, and the question was “Why do you find an overheated station wagon so goddamn intriguing?”

"Reply hazy, try again."

This massive traffic jam was caused by a man who pulled over to let his dog urinate by the side of the road. Fascinating spectacle!!

Guess what jerks? Everyone’s fine. There’s not a drop of blood to be seen. So why must you slow down and gape at that overwhelmingly uninteresting scene on the side of the road?

It’s not as if the Swedish Bikini Team’s RV just slammed into a tanker truck full of tanning oil.

It’s not like you’re driving by the Yankees team bus, split in half, engulfed in flames, with Jeter and A-Rod trapped in the now exposed lavatory – frozen in a nude embrace.

And it’s not like the Highway Patrol just pulled over Bin Laden and they’ve let loose 3 K-9 units to chase him down along the shoulder.

No. Simply put, it’s raining and some asshole skidded into some poor idiot, and one of their bumpers is now dented. They’re both on their cell phones – one with his wife, and the other with his parole officer.

That’s it.

Now please maintain your normal highway speed so I can get home.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Spiderman - Italian Style

May be offensive to some native Italians, but the 3 minute video is still safe for work, because it's all in Italian. Also, pretty funny even if you don't know a lick of Italian.

I think this has been around youtube for a while, but special thanks to David and Dan from PINK Vodka - the only super-premium vodka flawlessly infused with caffeine and guarana (and probably filtered about 1,000 times through diamond dust because it's so darn smooth) - for bringing Italian Spiderman into my life.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Battlestar Galactica, aka, The Source of My Current Paranoia

Battlestar Galactica – the new one starring Edward James Olmos, and not the late 70’s Lorne Greene/Dirk Benedict vehicle – is pretty much my favorite show right now. I’ve been catching up on the first few seasons via Netflix, and have found myself thoroughly entranced.

It’s one of the only shows in history to feature all 5 of The Mill’s Pillars of Perfect Television: explosions, sex, politics, robots, and Greek mythology.

The writing and plotlines ain’t half bad either.

Still, I hesitate to call it the best show of all time. In fact, no matter what happens over the 4th and final season (we already know the show ends this year) I’ll never call it the best.

How can I be so sure?

Because Battlestar Galactica makes me paranoid.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show’s basic premise, it goes something like this:

1) Another race of Humans on a far-off planet created the Cylons.
2) The Cylons started out as helpful robots, but then began to evolve on their own.
3) They started to fight back, further evolving until they look just like humans.
4) They also feel like humans – are essentially indistinguishable from us.
5) They launch a major attack, and are trying to wipe out the human race.
6) About 50,000 humans survive the attack and are now in search of Earth – the mythical home of a lost tribe of humans (us).
7) Or something like that.

Anyway, the main point is that the evil robot Cylons look just like us. They can easily infiltrate our society. Even they themselves don’t know they’re Cylons until activated by software buried deep within their Cylon brains.

So why does this bother me so damn much?

Well, what if Barack Obama is a Cylon?

Bear with me here.

Cylons are attractive, intelligent, and mysterious.

Sound familiar?

Cylon Family Tree?

Ever notice how Obama’s speeches have a sort of mechanical efficiency to them? How, compared to our current President, it’s as if his words have been machined from a solid piece of titanium? He’s too perfect. Especially when compared to Bush.

Ever suspect how Obama himself might be machined from a solid piece of titanium? How frackin’ frightening would that be? A killer robot President?

Further evidence: During one of Obama’s basketball playing photo-ops, when he dove for a loose ball and skinned his elbow, I could swear I spied the glint of metal where a tiny patch of flesh used to be. It was quickly bandaged by one of his minions.

Obama a Cylon? Ludicrous accusation? Only time will tell. But as we approach Election Day, at the very least, I’ve given you something to ponder.

As for McCain, I’m not too worried about him. He’s way too old-looking to be a Cylon. There’s just no way a highly-intelligent, advanced species of sentient robots would produce a McCain model.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Perfect Storm - Brooklyn, Soccer, Tacos, and Senator Chuck Schumer

I loves me some Latin American cuisine.

So when I heard that the best Latin American street food in all of New York City can be found at the Red Hook ballfields in Brooklyn, I had to taste for myself.

Apparently, this was their opening weekend for the summer – some New York City Dept. of Health red tape kept them from opening earlier.

This past Saturday was, like, hotter than Venus, so we waited until Sunday to head out to Red Hook. It was still supposed to be hot - the forecast called for molten lava to rain from the sky – but with somewhat lower humidity than Saturday.

After a two-hour “side trip” to the new Brooklyn Ikea megaplex, Jaimi and I found our way to the ballfields – a short jaunt from the Swedish furniture funhouse.

And when we arrived?

Pure, unadulterated Madness. Notice how I used a capital “M.”

Near the rear of the longest line in Latin American cuisine history.

Hundreds and hundreds of people waiting in line – in the summer heat – for a taste of Colombian, Peruvian, and Mexican delicacies. There were 6 food trucks, and when it seemed as though a line for one of these trucks couldn’t possibly get any longer than the last, the next one trumped it by 30 people.

After an hour or so, I had made it about 20 feet. I'm in the middle of this photo in the sunglasses, and I'm hungry enough to eat those glasses.

So we went to the one with the longest line of them all.

We waited.

And waited some more.

And then Senator Chuck Schumer showed up.

Schumer - ready to ruin everything.

Now, you’re probably assuming all these people were here to see Senator Schumer - the food trucks sort of happened to be there so they all got in line while waiting for Schumer to appear - that all anyone really wanted was to bask in the U.S. Senator’s ample liberal glow.

He was there to give a little speech and try some food – the bastard cut right to the head of our line for a photo-op and a taco - but no one took more than a moment to care. They were too focused on dreams of quesadillas, pupusas, and huaraches.

Senator Schumer using his prodigious political power to get a taco ahead of 300 of his hungriest constituents.

Eventually, after about 1.5 hours, our dream came true. We ordered huaraches from the Longest Line Ever Truck, and sat down at a picnic table to enjoy them.

At long last - the front of the line is within visual range!!

If you’re not familiar with an huarache, it’s like a massive, giant-ass taco – hand-made, soft corn tortilla loaded with steak, cheese, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, beans, and spicy sauce.

Jaimi had the vegetarian version, which consisted of the above, minus the mammal meat.

No longer starving, a little delirious, and still angry at Schumer, I enjoy my hard-earned huarache.

All in all, this was not the ideal way to spend a Sunday. We were dehydrated, tired, hungry, and combative before we were even halfway to the front of the line. Chuck Schumer’s barging ahead of everyone was like a jalapeno right in the eye – while at the same time, a soccer ball to the groin. I certainly could have done without one or the other.

This dog confided in me that he feared being eaten by the hungry, large man in the purple shirt. The man was subdued after drizzling hot sauce on the dog's leg.

Still. I’d go back. Legend has it that the Red Hook ballfields aren’t usually so insanely crowded. But combine opening weekend for the food stands, extra-hot weather (thousands were cooling off at the nearby public pool) and Schumer, and you’ve got yourself a living nightmare - but at least the food was pretty good.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Quick Housekeeping Note From The Mill

Everyone uses email nowadays. After all, it’s way better than talking…or listening.

So, with that in mind, I hacked into the Matrix and added the ability for you to receive email updates from this site. That’s right – whenever I write a new post, you’ll be automatically spammed with hundreds and hundreds of Canadian prescription drug offers, coupons for free iPhones, and guaranteed penis enlargement pills.

Just kidding. I hope. My hacking skills could use some work.

What you definitely will get is exclusive access to my latest posts in their entirety - from the comfort of your own email inbox. Now, there’s no need to change your underwear and/or head into work to poach personal internet access from your employer.

Just sit back, relax, smoke some crack, have some orange juice, and read my blog.

Wait a minute!!! Did I really just write that?

Sorry - not everyone likes orange juice. Have a beer instead, if you please.

Simply enter your email address in the place where it asks you to, over there on the right-hand side of the page, or right below if you are too tired to shift your eyes to the side of the screen. It’s super-easy.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

If you have any trouble locating this function, then it’s probably because you never learned - or were unable to learn - how to read. You might as well give up, and turn on the TV. Jerry Springer’s probably on, or Montel.

And if you’d rather keep visiting the site directly, then that’s fine too.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Surviving the Heat Wave








And so on and so forth.

The New York metro area is currently in the midst of a mini heat wave. New Yorkers are in for one hot and sticky weekend.

And how to best deal with it? Besides going for a brisk run in the 95 degree heat?

All I can manage, really, is to sit here in my apartment, with the A/C dial turned up to the "Initiate Snowfall" setting. Sure, my carbon footprint just got a whole lot bigger. But at least I'm prolonging my own life by staying in a 58 degree apartment.

And when I'm not in the apartment during this heat wave, I'll be in the frigid office, or my frosty car, or the chilly train – thus extending my life even further.

Allow me to explain.

I believe that in this modern age of climate control, all the time we spend in air-conditioned offices, movie theaters, supermarkets, etc. helps preserve our skin and organs, slow our metabolism, and generally keep us alive longer than ever before.

If you're skeptical of my pseudo-science, then join me in the following thought experiment.

Imagine a hunk of red meat in the fridge. It's nice and cold and fresh. Ready for the barbecue.

But instead of a charcoal grill, you take that dream meat and slap it down onto an imaginary white-hot sidewalk, in the blazing sun, during a hypothetical New York heat wave.

Leave it there for 2 or 3 virtual hours. You may want to set up an imaginary beach chair and umbrella, and stand guard over the meat. An imaginary dog could easily ruin this thought exercise.

Now, go take a whiff of that nasty hot meat. Not exactly cooked, not exactly raw, and certainly not something you'd want to eat.

See where I'm going with this?

Your body is that nasty piece of meat.

It's a near-perfect analogy.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

John McCain - The Older the Better

Much has been made of John McCain’s chronic and severe case of oldness.

He himself poked fun at this supposed disability during a mildly amusing Saturday Night Live bit a few months back.

What could I possibly have to add to the discussion?

The guy’s super old – the oldest man to ever run for President. Maybe even the oldest human ever to run for anything. He’s been alive so long, in fact, that his age spots have varicose veins. His prostate has wrinkles. His hearing aids are coal-powered.

But I believe the issue of his age is trivial. Who cares about how old the guy is? If anything, his intensely high level of ancientness helps him.

The reason?

I think older Americans are generally more likeable than younger Americans. As proof, I submit to you the fact that everyone likes my Dad, but not everyone likes me.

Go ahead, ask around.

Also, everyone thinks Yogi Berra and Paul Newman are adorable in their old age. The same can’t possibly be said for Heidi and Spencer from “The Hills.” Again, proof-positive that old people are better.

No surprise here: Old is the new young.

Other things – besides humans - that are better when old:

- Wine
- Whiskey
- Balsamic vinegar
- Collectible coins
- Autographs
- Sitcoms
- Radioactive waste

So Senator McCain - my friend - don’t make light of your own adorably advanced age. It may turn out to be your greatest strength.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Email Phishing – Scam, or Cry for Help?

I constantly worry about falling victim to an email phishing scam.

If you’re a doctor from Nigeria left with the fortune of a recently deceased patient who had no known relatives, or the cabin boy of a missing, wealthy, childless Senegalese sea captain, and need to find an American bank account to dump some money into, then I’m your man.

A good sob story will always unlock the weakly defended vault of my personal information – bank account, SSN, original copy of birth certificate, etc.

Take, for example, the email I recently received from a fine Ghanian (Ghanese?) gentleman by the name of Mr. Alfred Thompson. Can you help me decide if it’s for real?

“With Confidence Please,

Here is Mr. Alfred Thompson, the current Regional Manager National Investment Bank Ltd, Tema Branch, Accra-Ghana.

Indeed pardon me for not having pleasure of knowing your mindset before making you this offer this is urgent and timely confidential genuine by virtue of its nature. Write your assistance in a transfer of One Million Two Hundred and Seventy Thousand US Dollars into any account of your choice.

This fund is the excess of what my branch in which I am Manager made as profit during the last three weeks. My head office here in Accra were not aware of this excess and will never know of it.

Please note that as a staff of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this money; thus I am impelled to request for your assistance and partnership to receive this money into your bank account. And as my partner you are entitled to 35% of this total mount, while 65% shall be for me. Please I do need to stress that, it's going to be a bank-to-bank transfer.

Then with due respect I demand your full time co-operation on this transfer project. I will provide you with legal deposited document to up the clam after the official application to the bank demanding for the fund transfer to your designated Bank Account.

Below are the information's I need from you:

Your Full names

Your complete physical address

Your direct telephone

Your Fax number if any

You bank account and branch

Yours Truly,

Name: Mr. Alfred Thompson

Phone: +233248843873”

Sounds perfectly legit to me.

I notice that the author seems rushed – the tone of the message rather desperate, with words like “urgent,” “timely,” and “impelled” strewn haphazardly - and incoherently - across the entire document. Boy, this guy must be under a ton of stress. I feel sorry for him already.

Also, I can see that the email is completely riddled with grammatical errors. Shouldn’t someone with the name “Alfred Thompson” have a slightly better grasp of the English language?

Perhaps. But let’s ignore that for now. This guy clearly needs my help.

How do I respond? I’m anxious to find out more about the requested transaction - $1.27 million into my bank account, of which I can keep 35%!!! That’s awesome!!!

I think.

Although the exact details of this “urgent and timely confidential genuine by virtue of its nature” offer are a bit lacking – and the letter itself makes little to no sense.

But I’m feeling lucky today. Isn’t there a chance this could be for real?

Anybody want some free cash?

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Monday, July 14, 2008

MLB All-Star Game 2008 - A Well Deserved Break for the Fans

As a reminder to those of you who aren’t citizens of Red Sox Nation, Mets Country, or the People’s Republic of the Phillies, MLB’s All-Star Game is this Tuesday.

The All-Star break gives us a chance to rest – after weeks and weeks of seemingly nonstop baseball action. They really do play pretty much every day.

It’s a time to catch a breather from all the home runs, strikeouts, jockstrap adjustments, and unassisted triple plays.

It also offers us a great opportunity to step back and try to calculate how much time we’ve spent/wasted on baseball during the first half of the season.

I guess it depends on whom you ask.

I myself would simply say I’ve utilized a non-trivial amount of time watching live games, checking stats, and viewing highlights.

My girlfriend would say I’ve squandered a dreadfully high percentage of my waking hours obsessing over the most boring of all professional sports.

She’s also second-guessing how all this baseball could impact my ability to be an effective parent and caregiver – unless we adopt a 10 year-old Cuban refugee with a 90 mph fastball.

In any case, the break is a nice respite from the rigors of daily baseball fandom.

How about those of you who juggle multiple fantasy teams, check game updates on your iPhone, and stay up late (on a weeknight) to see who will get the save in the Mariners vs. Angels game? You know who you are. And you know exactly what I’m talking about.

It’s hard work. Grueling, even.

Thank God it’s half over, and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

But that light, it’s not so far off as the playoffs and the World Series. It’s actually quite a bit closer and brighter than any MLB playoffs could be from this point in the season.

And that light’s burning white-hot, accompanied by some really kickass background music.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, the 2008 NFL preseason begins on Sunday August 3!! Colts vs. Redskins.

And so the circle of life continues. And I will not rest until after the Super Bowl.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

iPhone 3G Release - Day 1 - Incomprehensible Nightmare of Herculean Proportions

As you may have heard, the new iPhone 3G came out today. And as I wrote yesterday, I was kinda hoping for some sort of problem with the launch - mostly so I wouldn't be too jealous of the new iPhone owners.

My old, first generation iPhone is very sensitive, and so am I.

Well, I've seen the ridiculously long i-lines, and the i-servers crashing. For a while, no one could i-activate their new iPhones.

600,000 iPhone zealots wait in line 3 days before the iPhone 3G goes on sale - crippling downtown Philadelphia.

It was a veritable i-saster. An i-mare, if you will. It got so bad that Apple employees began giving out hugs and emotional support, in lieu of technical assistance.

And as it turned out, I wasn't so happy about the whole debacle. If anything, I felt sorry for the poor i-fools who must have been ever so dis-i-ppointed, on what was supposed to be a day full of joy and i-fun.

I tried to imagine how I would have felt if I'd slept outside the Apple store for 4 days.

How would I have felt after waiting under the punishing sun, badly dehydrated because I hadn't had any water in 24 hours - too afraid I'd lose my spot in line if I had to go take a pee?

How would I have felt being number 61 in line, at a store that only had 60 iPhones in stock?

I'd probably be in jail right now, having smashed through the Apple store's front window and flipped over several cars and a school bus in a furious rage of i-anger.

Frustrated - but normally serene and gentlemanly - iPhone fanatics flip out on the guy who snagged the last iPhone in the store.

It's a good thing I decided to sit back and observe the initial carnage before upgrading.

I'm still a wee bit jealous of the new model's faster 3G network and GPS functionality. But I'll deal with it, and keep my old iPhone for now - along with my sanity.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

iPhone 3G - How Jealous Am I?

I've been a proud owner of a first generation, steam-powered, passenger-pigeon-required-for-text-messaging iPhone for almost 7 months now.

The new one comes out tomorrow, and some of the new features sound totally sweet.

To be clear, I don't regret owning the older iPhone. It was a gift from Jaimi - and a great gift at that - and it's provided me hours of entertainment via the slick touchscreen interface and full internet access.

I never get tired of checking celebrity gossip blogs and fantasy sports sites while in the bathroom at work.

But the new iPhone operates on AT & T's quick as balls 3G network. And it has GPS. And it has a sleeker profile. And I'm afraid people might laugh at me for having the old non-3G, non-GPS model.

So how do I minimize my jealousy towards those folks who are going to get their hands on the iPhone 3G, while I'm stuck here with the old version?

Only one way: if the new model's release is riddled with technical problems - maybe even a product recall. Then, people will long for the good ol' days of the original iPhone - the days of 3G wishes and GPS dreams.

My iPhone will suddenly be cool - and reliable - again. A sort of World War I propeller-powered biplane, to the the new iPhone's dangerous and fast World War II era Luftwaffe ME-262 (you can Wikipedia that one). And no, I am not comparing Steve Jobs to Hitler, just to be clear.

Only time will tell how jealous I'll be of new iPhone 3G owners. But hopefully - and by the good grace of Steve Jobs - they'll come out with a 3rd version of the iPhone soon enough, and my pain will be minimized.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A-Rod and Madonna: A Match Made in Jewish Mysticism

A-Rod and Madonna.

Jeter and Mariah.

Canseco and Madonna.

Yogi Berra and Madonna (in Yogi's dreams circa 1984).

What is it with ballplayers and material girls? Why do they always end up together - at least for a short amount of time before bouncing off to another celebrity/supermodel?

More importantly, why is it almost always Madonna? Who's that girl, anyway?

When you're one of the most recognizable sports figures on the continent, why not pick someone a little more borderline, and a little less crazy for you.

Madonna is the type of celebrity whom the paparazzi stalk incessantly. They're bound to be hiding in the bushes outside her building, or rummaging through the dumpster for her receipts and empty prescription bottles - like a ray of light, always shining on her window.

A-Rod must know this. He's not like a virgin when it comes to surreptitious romance.

Papa don't preach that he's a smart man, but I don't think he's a particularly dumb man either.

After all, he's smart enough to have 536 career home runs as of this writing.

In my book, that makes him 2 home runs smarter than Jimmie Fox, and 25 home runs smarter than Mel Ott. Although by that same logic, he's 523 home runs smarter than Melky Cabrera - leaving Cabrera with the intelligence of a tadpole. That's just not fair to Melky. Like a prayer, may Melky hit many more homers before his days are done.

Bottom line:

Madonna used to be hot. Really hot. La Isla Bonita hot. But now she's kinda old - although still hot for a 50 year old. A-Rod is still a very young and very hot professional athlete - the best in the world at what he does. He could have any man, woman, or mammal he wants. He should thank his lucky star.

I think A-Rod just needs a holiday from all this. He shouldn't have to justify his love. Don't cry for him, Argentina (or New York City).

Or maybe he just loves her music.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

What Does the Fourth of July Mean to Me?

Back when I was ten, the 4th of July was all about fireworks, hot dogs, baseball games, and trips to the ol’ swimming hole (aka, the wealthy friend’s pool). Also, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence, and all that jazz.

Now that I’m older – much, much older – the Independence Day celebration is, first and foremost, a day off from work. To me, that’s worth it right there.

But there’s still no way to escape the obligatory trip to an unobstructed fireworks vantage point – even if that means ignoring the “NO TRESPASSING” sign on your friend’s office building’s roof. Isn’t that the meaning of independence, after all? Ignoring posted signs, and just doing whatever the hell you want?

This year, my friends and I went down to Brooklyn Bridge Park, between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges - in the mist and rain - for a view of the fireworks.

The rain, the crowds, and the massive, solid masonry Brooklyn Bridge support tower led to a less than ideal fireworks watching experience.

Goddamn bridge....

...right in the goddamn way.

So, for the first time in recent memory, I left before the show was over. I ran a quick cost-benefit analysis before leaving: Rain, crowd, inferior viewing angle on one hand. Beer, dry apartment, baseball game on the other.

"Fireworks are bullshit," I may have said aloud.

The ladies in our group decided to stay behind and watch the rest of the show. From this evidence, I believe female humans like fireworks more than males. And that’s because fireworks look like giant sparkly flowers in the sky, and girls like flowers. But also, they explode, and all humans like explosions.

Research is ongoing.

If the pyrotechnics engineers could just come up with some new fireworks, then I might be more interested. We’ve seen the same old variety for the last 5-10 years.

Familiar fireworks - like millions of sparkling bits of fiberglass insulation, but probably more toxic to local fish and wildlife.

Show me a shell that detonates into a detailed profile of Abe Lincoln – complete with beard and stovepipe hat.

Give me a grenade that erupts into an image of the rock band KISS – in full make-up.

We put a man on the moon, for God’s sake. Why can’t we come up with fireworks that look like Ben Franklin flying a kite?

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what, if anything, they come up with for next year.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A New Allergy Treatment?

It turns out that one of man’s best friends, second only to dogs – the adorable and cuddly hookworm – may actually offer relief to some serious allergy sufferers.

Who knew?

A fine English gentleman by the name of Dr. David Pritchard knew. He’s been performing experiments on himself and others involving self-infestation by hookworms.

Sound appetizing? Why don’t you go grab yourself a ham sandwich and a cup of split pea soup, and then sit down and read this article.

Not to ruin the surprise, but it turns out you can actually get hookworms into your own body by wrapping a bandage covered in hookworm larvae around your arm, or leg, or heck, any old patch of bare skin.

The funny little critters simply burrow their way right on into your body, and eventually make their way to your small intestines. It’s here that they get comfy and feed off your blood.


But what they also seem to do is suppress their host’s immune system, thus making the host’s allergies less severe. The mechanism is a mystery, but the studies show a clear effect.

I count myself among the lucky few to not suffer from seasonal allergies of any kind. I’m a tad bit allergic to cats, but that’s about it – certainly not worth defiling my pristine intestines with worms.

This face is worth a thousand hookworms.

But Jaimi, sweet Jaimi , now she’s very allergic to many things - most notably dogs of all shapes and sizes. She loves dogs, but it really offends the dogs when she can’t pet them – because her eyes will swell shut and her nose will flow like the Mississippi.

I’d say she’s the perfect candidate for hookworm treatment. Sure, with hookworms you have to worry about malnutrition and anemia - and the knowledge that you have tiny worms living in your gut. But isn’t that well worth the love of a wet-nosed, fuzzy little puppy?

I think so.

But I’m not the one who’d be getting hookworms.

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